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The litter tray

taking in a stray

17 replies

cory · 18/11/2012 10:03

Lovely elderly-ish cat who has been hanging around the neighbourhead for months trying to make contact with passers-by, increasingly spending more and more time on our doorstep as dc have talked to him. Had a collar initially according to dc but this has now disintegrated and fallen off.

Last week we noticed he has been getting a lot thinner, so took him in. He's a truly lovely cat, beautifully house trained, friendly, not at all demanding or difficult, seems very happy with us and is already putting on weight. Have checked local Cat Protection website and he's not listed there as lost. Took him to the vet yesterday to check for micro-chipping. Vet confirmed he has not been chipped and is not listed with them as lost, but noted that his teeth are in a bad way and need treatment under a general anaesthetic. We want him to keep him (and to pay for his treatment). Just a bit worried that somebody will turn up and claim him.

Noone knows where he comes from but somebody has suggested next-door neighbour (who doesn't answer the door when we try to make contact). I do hope not; can't bear the thought of having to hand him back to someone who might maltreat him. Surely being left with teeth untreated (and they are very bad!) and being malnourished would be enough to count as contravention to the Animal Welfare Act? They wouldn't be able to take him back, would they?

Am thinking of circulating a leaflet with his description and mentioning that he needs veterinary treatment around the neighbourhood; that should prevent a neglectful owner from claiming him, shouldn't it? Does this seem a good idea? Anything else we should be doing?

We really, really want him!

And I do not hope it's not the neighbours; would hate a falling out.

OP posts:
cozietoesie · 18/11/2012 10:10

Just one point. Have you actually seen your neighbour(s) recently?

cory · 18/11/2012 10:13

Yes, they are still around; dh distinctly saw neighbour moving about when he knocked on the door and I can hear them through the wall. Not noisy, just definitely around. They certainly haven't moved.

But I think you have a good point: he is so clearly socialised that I can't help thinking he is more likely to have come from a good home which for some reason (death, move away) isn't there for him any more.

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cozietoesie · 18/11/2012 10:45

Poor old gent. Sad

I take it he's neutered - at least as far as you know?

I'd personally be inclined to put a little note round the neighbours as you suggested and then go for it if you get no responses after a week or so. I don't know the legal side but you've done a lot already (CPL, vet, microchip etc - and I assume you've left your details with them in case someone contacts them since you did) and while it's possible that he still has owners they don't seem too bothered if he's been in your house for a week. I would be going demented if one of my boys hadn't turned up for that long. The note round the neighbourhood would help.

I'm sort of discounting the months he was hanging around the neighbourhood and your doorstep - he could have been an outdoors cat who only went back to his 'owners' every night. The likelihood is that, sadly, as an elderly cat with problems, he's been abandoned.

Bear in mind that a full dental under GA is going to be slightly risky and expensive for an elderly cat. The vet will likely want to do blood work first to check that he's up to it and the procedure itself (and the recovery on the day) may be more time-consuming and staff intensive.

If it's any consolation, cozieseniorboy had truly horrible teeth when he came to me but went through a full dental with flying colours at over 16. It was chancy, being a GA, but it had to be done. Very bad teeth are quite dangerous as well as being painful/uncomfortable.

Good luck.

cory · 18/11/2012 10:53

Thanks for all your advice; that's great. Yes, he is a neutered tom; we've checked. The vet was happy to register him as ours until further notice, so our details are kept.

fwiw he hasn't actually been confined inside in our house for a week, though; he still prefers to go outside at night, but he's sleeping under our passion flower bush, definitely not going off to a loving home. We're thinking of setting up a small dog kennel arrangement to keep him warm at night.

Also, he was clearly underfed which suggests no owner; the fact that he has been putting on weight in the last week and started grooming himself for the first time since we've know him says a lot to me.

Good to hear a reassuring story about teeth; of course, it's a bit worrying, but they really need to get done; they're in a dreadful state. He's quite smelly; as the vet pointed out, he'll be putting the bacteria all over himself when he's grooming. But otherwise fine and not desperately old, we don't think; he doesn't appear stiff and jumps up onto the dustbin without any effort.

OP posts:
cozietoesie · 18/11/2012 11:07

If they have to be done - then they have to be done. Dental problems can be a killer when they're advanced as well as leading to a vastly impaired quality of life. Seniorboy's teeth had never been attended to (he came to me at 13) and previous vets had always shied away from tackling his mouth. His latest (and current) vet was not only more confident in her practice's ability to do the deed safely but also the situation was 3 years down the line and more black and white - it was a 'do them or else'. I remember the vet assistants reeling back from his mouth when they opened it!

Cost me about £250 - £300 including blood work. (I forget the exact amount because I was getting a free assessment and a discount for 'National Cat Smile Week' or something and it was combined with removing and investigating a wee lump on his side which turned out to be a benign fatty tissue.) Vet costs will vary greatly of course.

cory · 18/11/2012 11:16

Vet has mentioned a similar sum. We can scrape that together. Can't wait to see it done- it should really make a difference to him! Have to say I reeled when the vet opened his mouth and I got my first full view. She also said his general health is good and once we get that sorted he shouldn't need much else apart from his jabs and regular flea treatment and worming.

OP posts:
Fluffycloudland77 · 18/11/2012 11:31

That's so kind of you to help an old animal. We know people who would quite happily turn animals away when in need. Angry

Amazon do cat kennells, they are sealed plastic so no draughts and you can buy fleecy linings for them and put a hot water bottle in there.

Years ago in Russia people turned pets out when they couldnt afford to keep them anymore, I can well imagine it happening here.

The strays we've taken in have been very good pets, they do seem to appreciate that you look after them.

I dont buy all this bobbins about cats fending for themselves, we had to leave one of our strays at the holiday home once as she would not come in and a week later when we went back she was much slimmer (she wouldnt go to the neighbour for food so other cats were eating what he put down for her).

You've never seen a cat come to being called so fast when we went back the next week. She bounded up that path!.

Fluffycloudland77 · 18/11/2012 11:33

Also, we spent over £250 in our cats first year of life on neutering, jabs, accidents and infections from fighting so dont let anyone tell you a kitten is cheaper.

cozietoesie · 18/11/2012 11:41

Yes- it's a very kind thing indeed.

On the comparative costs - apart from his annual MOT, I don't think Seniorboy cost me anything at all at the vets until his teeth started really playing up. So a fair point.

cory · 18/11/2012 16:51

Well, that's that over. Dh finally managed to track the neighbour down by grabbing her as she was leaving the house (she doesn't answer the door) and she was incandescent.

Turns out the cat was hers and we should have known because he sits outside her house and he is very confused now and it's all our fault. (as far as I can make out he spends more time sitting outside our house, so that wasn't a very reliable guide, and I've certainly never seen her interact with him; she just walks straight past him).

Dh raised the question of his teeth and she first snapped "well you do it then"; then when I mentioned them again (her dd came banging on our door) she first said he was due an appointment at his vet's, then told us he can't have them fixed because he is a hermaphrodite and the GA would kill him (no idea if this is true).

So we're going to have to leave it, but I do feel worried. Of course he could be an elderly cat who is just looking unkempt and thin because of his age, but the fact that he started to look so much better and that his fur improved so much when he started coming into ours does make me wonder. If nothing else, I think he did thrive on a little more attention. But obviously, he is her cat and as long as we can't prove neglect, we have to back off.

This is the first evening in months he hasn't been hanging around our back door. She is obviously keeping him safe from the evil cat snatchers.

OP posts:
cozietoesie · 18/11/2012 17:01

Ah well. Makes you so annoyed that some people have animals and don't want to look after them properly.

Maybe things will 'develop' after a while now that she realizes you're concerned and willing to have him and look after him. Here's hoping.

cozietoesie · 18/11/2012 17:45

PS - Remember to phone the vet tomorrow and cancel your registration of him. Best not to comment to the practice other than to say you've now found the owner.

cozietoesie · 18/11/2012 17:45

Sorry - brain like a sieve. And CPL etc.

Fluffycloudland77 · 18/11/2012 18:00

Maybe lonecat will see this and comment on the gender thing.

I'd go to the RSPCA and I would nag them senseless about it he must be miserable in pain all the time.

What a bitch. Angry

cozietoesie · 18/11/2012 18:21

That's a real difficult one, fluffy. My (very personal) opinion is that it's maybe best to do nothing other than being a sweet neighbour and hoping that they'll stop, in fairly short order, being defensive and allow cory to help him, maybe take him over. I don't think that (given what they ignore at the best of times) reporting to the RSPCA would achieve much more than the sudden disappearance of the cat. And while that might stop his misery, it won't stop future problems with what sounds like very challenging neighbours.

It's a horrible situation for cory. Just horrible. As I said, the above is my very personal view and others may disagree.

So sad. Sad

cory · 18/11/2012 18:45

Have had two chats with RSPCA today, not so much reporting as asking advice in a tricky situation, and the officer and I both agreed that we will have to give her the benefit of doubt. At least he seems to be at home tonight, not hanging around ours yowling, so perhaps she will be guilted into giving him a bit of extra attention. Don't see what else we could do: we can't prove that his problems are not the natural results of old age. And though I doubt we will ever bet on good terms, lying low is probably the best solution for reasons suggested by cozietosie.

Will certainly remember to de-register him at the vet's.

OP posts:
cozietoesie · 18/11/2012 19:03

I'm so sorry for your family and him, cory. (I really had hoped that his life was about to turn around for his last years.) Just stay sweet to your neighbours and hope that they might decide to just let him come to you as being easier on them.

Best of luck to all.

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